Force of the Wind: A Legacy

Greetings everybody. I’ve just started my personal blog, in which I’ll post some (hopefully) interesting things about PC components, as well as some of my own stuff. As my first post, I decided to write about the different models of Gigabyte’s signature graphics card cooler series WINDFORCE (well, WINDFORCE 3X, to be exact) over time.  With 3 fans, acclaimed thermal performance, and a cool-but-elegant black look, the Windforce series is my personal favorite series of VGA coolers (The Hall of Fame series from GALAX is better, but it’s also so much more expensive that it wouldn’t normally worth it) So, let’s get started! (Please note, that the names of the coolers here are just my own fan names!)

Windforce 1

Windforce 1 I regard this cooler as the first of the Windforce series, even though it didn’t have the Windforce name back then (that name didn’t appear until what I call the Windforce 4). For a first design, it… actually looks pretty good! It’s nowhere near as cool or efficient as the recent Windforce coolers, of course, but it’s still more serious than many GPU coolers I’ve seen out there. Though, this cooler was extremely short-lived. As far as I know, it was only used in the GTX 460 cards, and then got replaced by the Windforce 2 with the GTX 470 cards.

Windforce 2

Windforce 2 The second version of the Windforce cooler was used with the GTX 470 “Super Overclock” cards. Notable changes include the addition of a “name tag” (though it’s still got the brand name “GIGABYTE” on there), a somewhat less edgy and “crystalline” look, and the “inclined” design is very clear here (the inclined design had been a marketing point of the Windforce series all the way until the Windforce 5. From Windforce 5 on the main marketing point is the “Triangle Cool” design instead). A pretty cool cooler in my opinion.

Windforce 2.1

Windforce 2.1 A minor upgrade of the Windforce 2 cooler, used in the GTX 480 “Super Overclock” cards. It has a somewhat more aggressive and brighter look than the Windforce 2. Not much to say here.

Windforce 3

Windforce 3 The Windforce 3 and Windforce 4 coolers have a very simplistic (and somewhat boring) design, but in return, their heatsinks seem to be much thicker, leading to better thermal performance at the cost of aesthetics. However, the Windforce 3.0, used in the first version of the GTX 580 cards,  still looks pretty interesting.

Windforce 3.1

Windforce 3.1 An update of the Windforce 3 used in the revised version of the same GTX 580 cards, as mentioned above. It has an even simpler and more “old-school” design, but at least the name tag is back!

Windforce 4

Windforce 4 The Windforce 4 looks… strikingly similiar to the Windforce 3.1, I wasn’t even sure if I should call it “Windforce 4” or “Windforce 3.2”! However, this is a major change in the Windforce series itself because with this cooler, the Windforce name was officially born. All of the prior coolers have the “Gigabyte” name on them. With this one, even though it doesn’t have a name tag, if you look closely at the new logo you can see the word “Windforce”. This cooler is used on the GTX 660Ti and GTX 670 cards, which are actually still used a lot today.

Windforce 4.1

Windforce 4.1 A minor update of the Windforce 4, with a more dynamic look and the Windforce logo has been moved to the left of the cooler. This cooler was used in the GTX 680 cards.

Windforce 4.2

Windforce 4.2 This cooler, first used in the R9 280, R9 280X and R9 285 cards, was, in my opinion, the least visually appealing one of all the Windforce coolers. Still, I’ve heard that it actually did quite well in terms of performance, mainly because of the proto-Triangle-Cool heatsink design.

Windforce 5

Windforce 5 Now THAT is a big update! The Windforce 5 has a completely new and cooler design, with the Windforce logo now highlighted on a name tag bigger than ever before. But more importantly, the Windforce 5 signals the start of the “Triangle Cool” heatsink design, which is now the marketing highlight of the Windforce series. This card is used in the R9 270X card as well as the newer versions of the R9 280/R9 280X ones. It’s also the cooler on the card I’m currently using (a Gigabyte R9 270X 2GB)

Windforce 5.1

Windforce 5.1 An update of the Windforce 5, used in the latest revision of the R9 270X cards. It has an extra heatpipe, a bigger profile, and a larger Windforce logo. Also, the shroud seems to be a bit less black.

Windforce 5.2

Windforce 5.2 Another update of the Windforce 5, used in the latest revision of most R9 and GTX 7xx cards, as well as the Titan cards. It has 5 heatpipes, and the black is back.

Windforce 6

Windforce 6 The latest major update of the Windforce series, and possibly one of the most serious ones. Aside from the completely renewed shroud design, this is the first time they’ve made some major modifications to the fans! The fans on the Windforce coolers, from Windforce 1 all the way to Windforce 5.2, have been pretty similar, with minor differences. This time however, the fan blades have an opaque shark fin design as opposed to a transparent one, and of course their airflow has increased, too! Moreover, the name tag with the “Windforce” logo has been moved to the side, so that you can see it all the time when looking at your case. Most importantly though, this is the first time the Windforce cooler can cool “600W worth of power”! The Windforce 4 and 5 have been advertised at 450W, and I’m not sure about the earlier models. This cooler is used on the GTX 970 and GTX 980 cards.

Windforce 6.1

Windforce 6.1 The Windforce 6.1, used in the GTX 9xx G1 Gaming cards, is actually a pretty… major one for a “minor” update! With this update comes the emergence of the LED lights on the Windforce logo as well as the birth of  the fan indicators (also with LED), and the Gigabyte logo on the center of the fans have been redesigned for the first time in Windforce history! It’s also bigger and stronger than the Windforce 6, naturally. Just like how the Windforce 4 signaled the official birth of the Windforce series, the Windforce 6.1 signaled the birth of the G1 Gaming series of hi-end cards.

Windforce 6.2

Windforce 6.2 The Windforce 6.2 cooler was launched with the GTX 980 Ti G1 Gaming card just a month ago. This is the first time in Windforce history we’ve got to see some silver color on the cooler instead of just black (the logos don’t count), and the LEDs can now change color!

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